MUNCIE, Ind. — Katie's Closet, a storefront that serves as a foster closet for children in the foster care system, announced their new project: the TANL house for foster youth.
“We are creating a home environment, it will be a house, an actual house,” said Tracy Walters, Executive director of Katie’s Closet and Turn Away No Longer, Inc.
TANL stands for Turn Away No Longer, Inc., which is the non-profit organization that is a part of Katie's Closet and is the lead on building a home for foster youth.
The house will serve as an in between house when foster children enter the system and are waiting for their placement in a home with foster parents. Katie’s Closet said this could take days--- and most of the time children have to sleep on the floor of case manager’s offices and other places, making this transition difficult.
“The case manager has to stay in the office, the child has to stay in the office, they sleep on the floors and chairs, and shower in sinks. They have all their stuff in a garbage bag,” said Walters.
The house will have bedrooms for the children and offices for the case managers, where they can work on finding foster youth a place to stay and the children can have a home environment.
“When they are sitting in an office environment, they have to hear rejection after rejection, on the phone while the case manager is trying to find a foster placement, at least the home, they won't be able to hear that,” Walters said.
Volunteers will be there to stay with the children and take care of any of their needs. There will also be new clothes and essential items for each child to pick from.
A church has donated five acres of land to build the house on. It will be located in Anderson. Katie’s Closet hopes that this house will change the way for foster youth, and that people from all over will benefit from the house.
“Hancock County, Delaware County, Hamilton County, Madison County or anyone who needs to utilize the house at any time is more than welcome to,” Walters said.
They have raised over $76,000 for building the house, and a few local Anderson companies have stepped up to build the house. They currently have a general contractor, concrete and plumbing for the house, but there is still more to be done to get the house started. They hope to break ground in the spring.
“In Madison County, we have over 800 kids in foster care right now. That is 800 children that the cycle continues for if they are not shown love, patience and for someone to show that they truly care about them,” Walters said.
They are also going to build a separate small area to hold parenting classes and supervised visits with biological parents of the children.
Contact Terra Konieczny with questions or concerns at Tbkonieczny@bsu.edu